Monday, 9 May 2022

How to Sight in a Red Dot Sight without Aiming

 A red dot sight allows for many types of shooting and combines the advantages of using your iron sights and riflescope. They provide you with assistance no other sighting system offers.

Whether you are in a competition, hunting, or combat, red dot sights allow you to use your agility to its furthermost potential.

With the best quality red dot sights, you can improve your speed and remain accurate at the same time. The fact is using one gives you a fantastic experience but zeroing them is a pain.

So is it possible to zero in a red dot sight without aiming? Let us find out!

Different Methods of Sighting in a Red Dot Sight

The first concept in using a weapon is to learn how to sight the target. Now to answer the question if you can zero a red dot sight in without aiming, the answer is no.

You can sight it in without shooting and eventually becomes a natural process the more you use your weapon.

You can follow various methods to sight in a red dot, and we will look at them here.

How to Sight a Red Dot Sight without Iron Sights

All that the sighting of a red dot does is to aim the zero, for example, the centermost point of the target (bulls-eye.) With a rifle zeroed adequately, you can aim and hit any target.

As you can see, aiming plays an integral part throughout the process of sighting in a red dot sight. This is where the Laser Boresighter comes in handy to sight on a target if you do not have iron sights.

There are different models available, but the best one is the bullet shaped one. You need to insert it in the chamber of the weapon, and you can get end-mounted boresight these days as well.

However, the placing is different, as you need to put it down the mouth of the barrel to activate the laser. Now that you have positioned the laser, it is time to sight the red dot in with a boresight (here we will be working with an AR platform, and the instructions vary from one weapon to another):

Place the upper part of the rifle on a steady platform after removing it from the lower by dispatching the charging handle and bolt.

Once you have done the previous step, you can now look down the barrel to achieve the distance needed to the target.

After working out the distance, move the upper part until you get the dot centered on where you’re pointing.

Look down the barrel again to see if the upper moved while sighting.

If you find the dots, not lined up, you need to readjust the barrel, aim, and go back to the sighting.

Once putting everything together, you can send a few rounds down to correct it depending on your point of impact.

Sighting in with a boresight depends on the model you are using. If you are using an optical model, make sure to attach the same to the bottom of the barrel and bring into line the lens of the sight.

Here you need to zero the red dot through the grid of the lens — the following steps to rotate the reticle to coincide with the middle point of the grid on the optic. The guns zeroed in after adjusting the crosshairs to the center of the device.

If you are using a visual Boresighter, you need to remember to remove the bolt from the gun. After removing the pin, you need to position the rifle to the target while standing at a firm stand — the aiming using this model is done through the barrel of the weapon.

Co-Witness of Optic with Iron Sights

If your weapon has iron sights co-witnessing it with a red dot sight is simple, as you do not need the boresighter to help.

Furthermore, it works as a backup iron sight when shooting. With a proper sighting of the two sights, you can transition seamlessly from the backup iron sights to the optic and vice versa.

Alternatively, the iron sights allow you to make accurate shots at close range. Here are some steps to get you started:

First, you need to have iron sights available on the rifle. These days many weapons do not have this luxury.

The majorities of AR 15 guns depending on the model have a fixed front and rear sight with standard height.

However, if you have a non-standard model you need a riser or spacer to align it with the red dot optic.

Once you have everything set up with the spacer or a riser if needed, you need to zero the iron sights​:


Set up a target, as you need one to shoot at when zeroing in the rifle. Set the object at 25 yards as the chance of missing the mark is smaller.


Load the rifle with the ammunition you plan to use the gun with as using different leaves you with differences in the sight adjustment.


Establish your position by using the method you plan on shooting. If you intend to do bench rest competitions, you need to use a bench rest, and if you use prone position the most, you need to use the same method. Once in place take your time to get a natural point of aim to give you accuracy.


Once establishing the sighting fire five rounds and adjusts if needed. The important thing is to get a tight cluster of shots.


After completing the sighting and you find that all the shots are within the point of impact, you are almost done.


Now move the target to the desired position you want to shoot from 25 to 200 yards and follow the above steps to finalize the zero.

Now that you have sighted in the iron sights, you can mount the red dot optic and adjust the reticle until it lines up with the iron sights.

For you to be able to do this, you need to be at the back of the sight to align the dot with the iron. You can do this by using sandbags or any other stable support. 

Once aligned you need to verify that the zero is correct with the optic by taking on the same shooting position or style you used for the iron sights. The important thing is that the red dot needs to match up with the iron sight. 

Old School Way of Bore Sighting

While there are many gadgets available to make your life easier to zero in your rifle—it is vital to know how to perform the task without the help of specialized equipment.

Here you can find an old school method of boresighting a rifle. The main thing is the weapon must be a bolt-action model with a removable bolt.

Mount the red dot optic, center the reticle and make sure it is well balanced and level on the weapon.

Secure the rifle on a bench using a vice, or you can use a bipod or sandbags. The important thing is the rifle must not move when performing the task.

Remove the barrel, look through it, and center the bore of the gun on a target set the distance you plan to shoot.

Once done all you need to do is move up to the red dot sight and center the reticle on the center of the target.

By following these steps, you should be able to get your 1st shot on paper and pretty close to the target.


With a red dot, sight such as the Vortex Venom vs. Viper model mounted to a rifle helps you to shoot on target.

Whether you have a handgun or rifle with these mechanisms, it provides better sighting to pull the trigger at an aimed point. The red dot optic helps you to get on target and not magnify your view.

If you do have one with a magnifying glass, you can shoot up to 75-yards, but if you are not doing long range shooting it will help you hit your target more and save on ammo.

As you can see preparing your weapon with an optic to work together with or without an iron sight is not complicated.

The important thing is to do it correctly, but sighting in a red dot optic is not possible without aiming, but you can do it without shooting.

Another vital thing to remember is if you want to make sure the firearms are zeroed in you will need to make a couple of shots to adjust the sight if needed.

We hope that the steps on how to sight your red dot optic with your rifle give you a better insight to get it done right the first time.

Furthermore, to maintain your skills always practice with your iron sights to continue the ability if ever the optic decides to fail on you.


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